These two teams have started their season similarly. The Bulls have lost four of their last five games. For the Mavs they have lost four of their last six games. Both are one game under .500 and tonight could be a turning point for either team, or it could be just a redemption game for them.
Both teams are looking for success until their superstar returns. Nowitzki is still out for at least another month and Rose will not be back until later this season.
There’s no doubt that Dallas and Chicago are trying to find their own unique identity. They know that if they fall any further in the standings that by the time their respective superstar returns it may not matter.
However, the Mavs have it harder than the Bulls do. The Bulls are in the Eastern Conference and falling six to ten games below the .500 mark may not hurt as much as it would for the Mavs, who are in the Western Conference.
That is why that this game tonight means more to the Mavericks. They need to figure out what they need to do to take a victory against a hurt Chicago team.
Last night, coach Rick Carlisle put Elton Brand on the bench instead of the starting line-up. He had his best performance last night against the Philadelphia 76ers and I expect him to do the same if he comes from the bench again.
Darren Collison was also benched for last night’s game. Unlike Brand, he did not have a great performance. Although he did have five steals, he only scored 12 points in 30 minutes. I expect him to be back in the starting line-up since nobody else is stepping up.
I believe for the Mavs to walk out with a victory tonight they are going to need their entire bench to step it up. Last night the Bulls only used three guys from the bench and they only combined for 10 points.
Dallas, on the other hand, have a ton of talent on their roster. They have used it in the past with their depth and they need to use that again to walk away with a win. That means Vince Carter will need to play like he is 5 years younger. He has been great thus far this season and is playing like a Sixth Man Of The Year candidate.
I expect tonight to be a very sloppy game. Which every team can take advantage of the turnovers that will be the team that walks away with a victory tonight. One of these team’s will go back to an even .500 and one of these teams will fall two back from the even mark.